Macs Gildoran misses Grand National date

MACS GILDORAN was the only surprise withdrawal from the Martell Cognac Grand National at yesterday's forfeit stage, leaving a total of 77 entries remaining in the race a week on Saturday.

The Irish 10-year-old had been a general 25-1 chance for the Aintree spectacular but his trainer Willie Mullins said: “He knocked himself behind and won’t run again this season.”

Noel Meade has taken out totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup third Harbour Pilot, who had been as short as 12-1 in some books following his gallant effort against Best Mate and Sir Rembrandt last Thursday.

First Gold heads the weights on 11st 12lb but connections are considering another tilt at the Martell Cognac Cup, which Francois Doumen’s charge won last year.

His owner JP McManus could be represented by Le Coudray, Risk Accessor, Clan Royal and Spot Thedifference.

The Mullins-trained Hedgehunter and Ted Walsh's Rince Ri are 14-1 favourites with Cashmans.

As well as First Gold there are three other French entries, Doumen’s Innox and Kelami, and the Jacques Ortet-trained Paladin.

The race has a safety limit of 40 and there are currently 47 horses in the handicap.

Also among the 23 horses to come out were Fondmort and Commanche Court.

Andrew Tulloch, clerk of the course, is pleased with the condition of both the Mildmay and the Grand National tracks, just over a week before the meeting gets under way.

The current ground conditions on both courses are good and Aintree’s policy will be to provide ground no faster than that for the three-day meeting.

Cashmans bet: 14/1 Rince Ri, 14/1 Hedgehunter, Timbera, Jurancon, 16/1 Montys Pass, Joss Naylor.

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